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There is no “standard” for documentary work. You should try to achieve the best production values no matter what you are doing. I personally think it’s annoying when people use “eh, its a documentary” for an excuse to be lazy.
I’d say the reason why you see documentaries that don’t have the best production values is because documentarians are better storytellers than anything. But I personally think no matter who you are and what you’re doing you should try to shoot and editing with professional results.
To answer your question about which controls I leave up to the camera, I leave nothing up to the camera.
I guess the time to leave the camera in auto is when you know you won’t have control. If you have time and control, then take the time and control.